Saracens produced an amazing comeback to take control of Heineken Cup pool 1 with a stunning 37-28 victory over Racing Metro in Nantes.
In front of a sold out Beaujoire Stadium, Sarries conceded three first half tries but six penalties from Owen Farrell kept the visitors in the game at the break and Chris Wyles’ second half try along with a further 14 points from Farrell secured the win.
Farrell kicked 32 points in the game – a record for the Heineken Cup.
That win looked far from secured in the opening period but Farrell’s six first half penalties kept Sarries to within seven points of the home side, despite conceding three tries in the opening 40 minutes.
Sarries were dealt a blow in the opening minutes of the game when David Strettle left the field on a stretcher after being taken out off the ball from behind by centre Fabrice Etsebanez.
Thankfully, Strettle was up and about after the game and there appeared to be no long term damage. The incident went unnoticed and within minutes of the restart, Racing were ahead.
The power and offloading of the home pack broke through the Sarries defence and prop Luc Dulcalcon went over with Sebastien Descons adding the conversion.
From the restart, Farrell reduced the lead with a penalty but within minutes Racing crossed for the second time as confusion in midfield allowed Juan Imhoff to break free.
As was the case with the first try, Sarries then won a penalty from the restart to cut the deficit, but almost immediately, Racing had a third. A dropped up and under in midfield saw the loose ball break to Juan Martin Hernandez and he released Imhoff to score. Descons added the extras.
As the half wore on, the Sarries scrum won two penalties which allowed Farrell another two successful penalties while Descons also struck a brace with the boot. Things boiled over when Will Fraser was yellowed carded for a late hit on Hernandez and when Jone Qovu led with the shoulder on Farrell, the fly half picked himself up to kick Sarries to within seven points of Racing as the half time whistle went.
After the break, Sarries began to play in the right areas of the pitch with Farrell guiding his team into Racing territory and Wyles struck with his side’s try with the second period 10 minutes old. A first-phase move involved Farrell and Joel Tomkins before the full back crossed the line.
Farrell converted and then another penalty took his side ahead for the first time in the match. Descons levelled with a kick of his own before Farrell struck a further three penalties to clinch a famous win.